Why does the Freedom League refuse to help?

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Why does the Freedom League refuse to help?

Postby arcady » Tue Jul 22, 2003 6:21 pm

Ok, one player is always trying to go for backup. At the first sign of trouble he's calling the hotlines for every team in the city.

Asuming the teams are in town, why might they refuse to get involved?

I need a list of excuses I can pull from that don't sound too pat until the PCs finally get the idea that they are the heroes in this comic book, not somebody else. :p

I've also considered that at least once in all this I will have the NPCs arrive to help, push out the PCs, and solve the entire adventure off camera while they PCs merely get to watch the news footage from home... :yar:
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Postby Dr Archeville » Tue Jul 22, 2003 6:39 pm

They've just went out to the grocery store.

They're off saving someone else.

They're on the Moon, helping the Farsiders.

They're fighting they're own archnemeses.

It's a federal holiday, and they're off work ;)

They've been rendered unable to answer the phone (turned into birds or weasels or shrunk to action figure-size).

etc.
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Postby palehorse » Tue Jul 22, 2003 6:39 pm

Hmm... well, I guess one option would be to have the cavalry come in every time they call for it; they just don't get any experience for it.

Or have the FL come in and save the day, and NOT be there to take another more important call while they were out saving the player's butts.

"You know, last time we dropped everything to come save your butt, the Washington Monument got shrunk and stolen. Took us two weeks to track it down again. So no, we WON'T be coming out there to help you defeat the Mortar Master. (beat) And you call yourself a hero..."
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Re: Why does the Freedom League refuse to help?

Postby Neo » Tue Jul 22, 2003 6:46 pm

arcady wrote:Ok, one player is always trying to go for backup. At the first sign of trouble he's calling the hotlines for every team in the city.

Asuming the teams are in town, why might they refuse to get involved?

I need a list of excuses I can pull from that don't sound too pat until the PCs finally get the idea that they are the heroes in this comic book, not somebody else. :p

I've also considered that at least once in all this I will have the NPCs arrive to help, push out the PCs, and solve the entire adventure off camera while they PCs merely get to watch the news footage from home... :yar:


I've had this exact same problem :D so I can certainly sympathise. Excuses I've used are as follows:-

1. Answerphone
2. Hero Hotline e.g. "Please choose option 1 if the nature of your trouble is villain based, a theft, a violent crime etc.... baffle them with so many automated optiosn they give up :)
3. Team in question is so busy with an important experiment right now they can't risk leaving it until its done it could be dangerous.
4. These Hoax phone calls have to stop! slam the phone down.
5. Red Tape, have the butler take thier details and promise to get the team to call them back as fast as he can.
6. I'm sorry the team is out of Dimension right now
7. I'm afraid the team were so badly wounded in thier last battle they are simple unable to lend help.
8. this number has been disconnected :D
9. the team in question is currently missing
10. The team is currently ina really important meeting with government official i am afraid i will be unable to interrupt them until it is over, but be aware they will be made aware of your situation.
11. No Obla anglaise
12. The team in question is currently on Hiatus
13. Hi Domino Pizzas what can i get for you tonight sir?
14. For reasons beyond our control and because of certain official secrets documents we have previously been asked to sign I am afraid we unable to render you aid.
15. Due to a family crisis the team in question is not in town
16. The team is already engage in another part of town.... have you tried the Mystic Four?
17. elevator Music.... "Please be aware your call is in a cue, we willget to you as soon as an operator becomes available".
18. sorry were upt to our ears in tax returns at the moment as were undergoing a surprise visit by the inland revenue, we would be comitting a felony to leave at this point and we hold the law in too high a regard to do that :D
19. due to the destruction of the Good man building last week i am afraid the team are unavailable right now were not sure were they're staying, somewhere downtown we think.
20. The team are unavailable right now, they're currently doing an interview on the Carson show, they should be free around Midnight.
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Re: Why does the Freedom League refuse to help?

Postby Inazuma » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:03 pm

arcady wrote:Ok, one player is always trying to go for backup. At the first sign of trouble he's calling the hotlines for every team in the city.

Asuming the teams are in town, why might they refuse to get involved?

I need a list of excuses I can pull from that don't sound too pat until the PCs finally get the idea that they are the heroes in this comic book, not somebody else. :p

I've also considered that at least once in all this I will have the NPCs arrive to help, push out the PCs, and solve the entire adventure off camera while they PCs merely get to watch the news footage from home... :yar:


It'd serve them right.

At the very least, the player needs to have it explained to him that superheroes are not supposed to act that way. He should be trying to solve the problems himself, not calling for help.

In character, the teams can just refuse. There's no compunction for them to do the job of another hero team. Palehorse said it best. "And you call yourself a hero..."
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Postby The Cyboid » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:08 pm

What about taking a page from the Fred Hembeck classic piece "What If...the Avengers moved to Hoboken?"

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Postby Neo » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:11 pm

You could also take the hard shock approach.

Allow the Pc's groups to contact the heroes have them turn up and have them usher the Pc;s group to the sidelines with the other spectators (have the police move them behind the tape etc..) while the real "Heroes" get to work.

Have the NPC hero team defeat the baddies and then head home award the PC's no Powe Points for the experience.

See how quick they change thier ways when they realise they're likelt to spend thier careers as PL 10 heroes for the entirety.

Like the man says "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility".
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Postby Inazuma » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:15 pm

Neo wrote:Like the man says "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility".


Like the man says, "Nothing motivates a role-player like the possible denial of experience points." :D
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Postby The Cyboid » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:19 pm

"Your call is being transferred."

:: Series of clicks::

"Hi! This is Plaid Lad of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, can I help you?"
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Postby Novac » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:24 pm

The Cyboid wrote:"Your call is being transferred."

:: Series of clicks::

"Hi! This is Plaid Lad of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, can I help you?"


Okay, one last post tonight. Honest! Man, that's the way to do it. You all have the right idea, now chunk them all together.

1) The PC makes the call
2) Plaid Lad picks up and they hussle out
3) The PCs are put at a distance with all the other helpless gawkers.
4) The Newspapers, and TV spots show the 'heroes' and tell how they managed to get ahold of the LSH, which arrived on the scene and saved the day.
5) No Power Points for the session
6) The PCs are then looked upon as a THIRD rate bunch of mooks because the SECOND rate ones had to come save their butts.

Anyhow, off to bed. Brain Trust is still throbbing in my head.
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Postby Nightlynx » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:46 pm

Ok alot of good ideas have been tossed into the ring - here's my own! You just send in the calviery - you pc's call for help and its arrives -

BUT

Wait its not help that comes a running but more baddies who are either posing as the other heroes or just happened to have intercepted the pc's sos - It might mke them think twice before they call for help from other heores and make for an interesting plot twist...

peace and good gaming

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Postby arcady » Tue Jul 22, 2003 7:46 pm

Lots of good ideas. With-holding XP won't work for me, I use the standard allotment of one XP per session - nat based on the achievement of any goals. Players at my table have to learn to get their rewards from the events of the game (if this doesn't satisfy them they probably aren't a good match for my style - so I try to refer them to people I think they will match with).

Anyway, so far I've been using:

1: Press one for English, Prensa dos para el español.
2: Having the NPCs show up after the PCs leave, and get ambushed by the very late cavalry the villains had called in...
3: _____ is currently away in the Lost World, if you would like to leave a message...

These tactics will get old very soon.
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Postby Tumbler » Tue Jul 22, 2003 8:38 pm

I would set it up so that the Freedom League comes with a ton of Avengers style red tape. Suddenly, when the FL arrives, the PC's don't have the right security clearance, or the FL considers them part of the problem and attacks, or some enemy of the FL members involved sees an opportunity and joins the villains of the campaign.

I personally would not call on Giant Man for help if I knew it would get Ultron on my butt, but that's just me.
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Postby MrJamela » Tue Jul 22, 2003 9:11 pm

The Freedom League should certainly come when they are called. Or get rid of them.

In our campaign, they are more like the Justice League and are out dealing with real problems. Only Sonic (elevated to a junior member) is stuck aound town. We joke that he is watching their pets and answering the phones.

When the FL does show up, they should totally upstage the players....almost to the point of telling them, "thanks....we'll handle it from here."

Heck....if your players get into the habit of calling in the FL when they get in over their heads, word will probably get around. I'm thinking bonuses to a villain's taunt rolls here. And if it keeps up, some villain is going to attack the group as a trap to get at the Freedom League.

Oh yeah....and dock their XP. Lets face it, having someone else solve your problems teaches you very little.

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Postby Witchblade » Wed Jul 23, 2003 5:48 am

Well, there's always the ubiquitous "mission in space." Seriously though, I like the idea that if the heroes keep depending on others to do their jobs, they're going to suffer bad press. The Freedom League shows up when called, but then dismisses the heroes out of hand. ("Stand back, junior, and watch a real hero in action!") Like you said, they get to go home and watch the big boys handle it on the news.

It may even get to the point where Captain Thunder sits them down for a talk and basically tells them to stop looking for trouble. This would be done in the maner of a friedly police officer talking to elementary schoolers, of course. Really make them feel like he's being totally condescending. ("We know that you kids are just trying to help, and we appreciate that, but you should leave the crime fighting to the experts.")

The local papers would address the story as, "Junior Heroes Call Out Freedom League." Other heroes begin treating the PCs as lessers. Police begin to decline their help. ("If we get in over our heads, we can call the Freedom League ourselves, thanks.") The Freedom League stops taking their calls and asks them to quit calling. (Johnny Rocket answers the phone, "'Lo? Oh, it's you! What's the matter this time, a cat stuck in a tree?")

Now here's an idea...

Give them something relatively minor, but that they're still likely to call in the Freedom League for. They make the call, but no one answers. The villain taunts them, saying, "Calling in the big guns? Oh, they're already taken care of!" The villain's allies have already incapacitated or captured the Freedom League. The PCs not only have to handle this themselves, but they will also have to rescue the League! In fact, every superhero group in town has already been taken out. The PCs are the only ones left! If they can't find a way to defeat the bad guys, Freedom City is left to the mercy of the villains! The PCs can flee, of course, but in doing so, they ruin their career as super-heroes.
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Postby faenril » Wed Jul 23, 2003 6:15 am

Witchblade wrote:Well, there's always the ubiquitous "mission in space." Seriously though, I like the idea that if the heroes keep depending on others to do their jobs, they're going to suffer bad press. The Freedom League shows up when called, but then dismisses the heroes out of hand. ("Stand back, junior, and watch a real hero in action!") Like you said, they get to go home and watch the big boys handle it on the news.

It may even get to the point where Captain Thunder sits them down for a talk and basically tells them to stop looking for trouble. This would be done in the maner of a friedly police officer talking to elementary schoolers, of course. Really make them feel like he's being totally condescending. ("We know that you kids are just trying to help, and we appreciate that, but you should leave the crime fighting to the experts.")

The local papers would address the story as, "Junior Heroes Call Out Freedom League." Other heroes begin treating the PCs as lessers. Police begin to decline their help. ("If we get in over our heads, we can call the Freedom League ourselves, thanks.") The Freedom League stops taking their calls and asks them to quit calling. (Johnny Rocket answers the phone, "'Lo? Oh, it's you! What's the matter this time, a cat stuck in a tree?")

Now here's an idea...

Give them something relatively minor, but that they're still likely to call in the Freedom League for. They make the call, but no one answers. The villain taunts them, saying, "Calling in the big guns? Oh, they're already taken care of!" The villain's allies have already incapacitated or captured the Freedom League. The PCs not only have to handle this themselves, but they will also have to rescue the League! In fact, every superhero group in town has already been taken out. The PCs are the only ones left! If they can't find a way to defeat the bad guys, Freedom City is left to the mercy of the villains! The PCs can flee, of course, but in doing so, they ruin their career as super-heroes.


I have only one thing to say:

:lol:
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Postby Carnifex » Wed Jul 23, 2003 7:01 am

Have another NPC group call them asking for help. All the time. At night so they don't get enough sleep. In the shower. When they are fighting other bad guys. When they are trying to sneak up on a bad guy or hideout (in this case the call should be loud, with lots of lights etc.) When they are at work in their secret IDs. When they get home, they have a dozen messages asking for help. Have one group call them, then call waiting goes off and it's another group.

"We got idea from you!! Call reinforcements to fight the bad guys"
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Postby Zhure » Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:30 am

There was a great scene in the Alias comic series, where "Jewel" (whatever her name is, the lead character who doesn't wear a costume anymore), finds Rick Jones and finds out about a terrible kree-skrull invasion plan, and how Rick is constantly being stalked.

She tries to find the Fantastic Four, but gets rebuffed by the robotic receptionist, who neither recognizes her nor Rick Jones. Basically the brush-off amounts to "they'll get back to you as soon as possible. Have a nice day! <robotic smile>

Finally the protagonist finds out it wasn't the real Rick Jones, but just some imposter trying to cash in on Rick's fame. No wonder the FF's receptionist didn't ID him.

Great series.

In more direct answer to the question:
I think it's an odd occurrence, and one that isn't seen often in the source material. It's out of genre to appeal for aid unless there's a crossover or a guest-star book in the making. Batman doesn't call on Superman to help stop the Joker; Superman doesn't come get Batman to help solve all his mysteries... unless it's the aforementioned crossover. If you as the DM haven't foreshadowed the appearance of another super team, then appealing to them is non-genre.

I've found the best way to handle it is via talking to the player about acting in a non-genre fashion. Use any of the above posters' mentioned reasons as to why the Freedom League isn't available as an in character response.
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Postby Carnifex » Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:47 am

Look at a real world example. Cops don't always call for backup, there are only so many cops.

If there is more than 1 super team, then odds are there is enough work for both. So realistically speaking, odds are that they are busy with their own bad guys.
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Postby Tesuji » Wed Jul 23, 2003 8:53 am

Ok one thought... whie i too love the notion of the NPC team arriving and sitting the heroes to the sidelines while they do the work, and the heroes not getting the press acolades and the like, this has one serious danger. It is intended by the Gm to "show them" and discourage the behavior, but it was really only 1 player who's character did the deed and it punishes the rest right along with them. So, you need to ask is he doing this "for fun" or is he really doing this to be a pain to the Gm and the rest. if its the former, he will be amenable to the gang talking him out of it, cuz its not fun. if he is doing it to be a pain, this will just encourage him. The best you can hope for is the player's characters decide to kick him out.

Now, as for scripting scenarios to inhibit this behavior, have the scenarios pacing do some of your work for you. In many scenarios the detective work and such is time consuming, calling the FL in for that wont happen a lot since they will probably not want to respond to notions that don't pan out, they are busy too. If the scenario ramps up to "an immediate problem" once the players get where they need to be, so that you have a minute to get busy, then the FL will respond but be too late. "We are moving, ETA 5 minutes" is no comfort once the 6 second rounds are up and running.

I would script one or two false alarms, where the PCs look like they have found the bad guys but call in the FL before engaging. Maybe, during the 5 minutes the bad guys teleport away, leaving the now empty warehouse for the FL to arrive in full battle mode and support choppers and police and med guys... only to find no evidence and just the PCs standing around outside. "So, OK, which is it? Was this a gigantic false alarm or did you just sit here and watch with your thumbs up you capes while the bad guys just left?"

You have to design/script scenarios which reward proactive measures, which make going ahead and getting busy worthwhile. frankly, if enough of your scenarios are scripted so that the team can call in backup and wait for it to get there and see this as the benefit it is, then its not "bad" for the player characters to use this tactic, its smart thinking.
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Postby spatulalad » Wed Jul 23, 2003 11:01 am

Tesuji wrote:Ok one thought... whie i too love the notion of the NPC team arriving and sitting the heroes to the sidelines while they do the work, and the heroes not getting the press acolades and the like, this has one serious danger.


This is ALWAYS a bad idea. Even if your Players are the most retarded bunch of powergaming munchkiny rules-lawyers, they don't deserve to come to a session to watch you play with yourself.

Don't. Do. It.
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Postby Carnifex » Wed Jul 23, 2003 11:03 am

I doubt any GM would roll dice for a bunch of NPCs fighting it out. It would be a cut-scene, "The Freedom League slug it out with the Dastardly Five, who unfortunately escape."
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Postby Tesuji » Wed Jul 23, 2003 11:27 am

Carnifex wrote:I doubt any GM would roll dice for a bunch of NPCs fighting it out. It would be a cut-scene, "The Freedom League slug it out with the Dastardly Five, who unfortunately escape."


precisely
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Postby Sagittary » Wed Jul 23, 2003 12:17 pm

spatulalad wrote:This is ALWAYS a bad idea. Even if your Players are the most retarded bunch of powergaming munchkiny rules-lawyers, they don't deserve to come to a session to watch you play with yourself.


Man, that is -waaay- too easy of a joke right there... :lol:

Anyway, the point was not going through the motions but basically cutting out the session and saying, "Well, adventure's over, the FL did it, go home."
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Postby Jason Starr » Wed Jul 23, 2003 12:57 pm

What's funny about all this is I actually plan on having another super team act as a recurring problem by giving unsolicitedhelp - and accepting all the glory or course :) It'll be fun to see if the players resort to violence or try to find some other solution.
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